Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I Was Palgarized!

Oh, the horror!

Today is a day that will live in infamous infamy.

On my new blog (that I encourage all of you to go to it right now and subscribe to it immediately) I posted about a bold American Idol prediction. I was so jazzed that I went on my MySpace page and sent it out as a bulletin.

But lo and behold...

...45 minutes later I get a bulletin with the EXACT SAME TITLE. And when I read it, it had the exact same content with a couple of word changes and , of course, the thief's name as author.

It gets better.

When I confronted my "friend", he told me in a matter of words, "it's not copyrighted or anything. Besides I'm not a marketer, so it's not like I'm stepping on your toes."

Well...I informed him that my internet posts are, in fact, copyrighted the minute I put them up and they may not be redistributed without attribution. And I also gave him a crash course in ethics (as if he had any). Lastly, I demanded he remove the bulletin.

His response is priceless.

He deleted me as his friend. Not that I care, but as he probably knows, now I can't see if the plagiarizer took it down or not.

I just don't get it. In this world of Web 2.0 and sharing, you'd think this kind of thing wouldn't happen. But I guess some people are just desperate for original thoughts.

Of course, if he doesn't respond to me anymore, I just might point all of you to his profile so you can "have a word with him" about stealing other people's intellectual property.

Success always,

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Top Mistakes in Web 2.0 Marketing Part 1

NOTICE: This blog is going through some changes. I want to welcome all of you to check out my new blog at my home page at All material from this blog was ported over there, but the new blog will focus on marketing through Web 2.0 and how Web 2.0 has changed and continues to change the way we marketing online. This current blog will continue but the focus may shift to something more specific like copywriting or marketing for independent professionals (haven't decided yet).

So, without further ado...

Top Mistakes in Web 2.0 Marketing Part 1

SPAM. Thats was easy. End of post. Seriously…

…now that thats out of the way, we can get to all the other mistakes people use when using social media (Web 2.0) to market. But know this: I am telling you these things because I have made these mistakes and in this series, I will humiliate myself for your benefit.

Mistake #1 No Focal Point

Many people go to different social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook. The only problem is that those sites are best for driving traffic to your main web site. This is important for 2 reasons:

1. If you try to sell products on these sites, they will shut you down. Recently MySpace rightfully deleted SPAM profiles and the profiles of those who use automated bots to add friends and maker comments. Good for MySpace!

2. Social networking is about building community, not about selling. You may find this an odd statement coming from me since this blog is about using social networking to market yourself (wellyou may not know what this blog is about if you are new because I failed to port my more recent posts from my other now-defunct blog and am now having to manually put them backbut Ill leave that mistake to another post in this series.) But think about this: when you become part of a community and establish yourself as an expert, people will seek you out elsewhereand isnt it convenient that there is a link to your web site or blog (I prefer linking to a blog) on your profile! You made it so simple.

By not having a focal point to send people to, you are not maximizing your social networking. In fact, you might end up spreading yourself out so thin that all of your social network marketing is rendered useless.

Tune in for another top mistake and discover how I systematically destroyed my own blog before I realized I had a system for destroying it. Itll make you laugh. Itll make you cry. Its a must see!!!!

To your success,

Carlon Haas

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Want to "Make Money Online?"...Read This first

I'd like to first thank all of you who commented on the post about my wife. It seems to have brought a bunch of you out and only confirms my theory that putting up pictures of women on my blog appeals to my male audience :-)

Here's another post from my new blog (the new blog deals with marketing on social media or Web 2.0). but I did import this blog to it so that people who don't know this blog could get the information without having to subscribe to 2 blog.

anyway..on with the show..

Im in DC for Yanik silvers Underground Online Seminar III.

This is one cool event. Ive heard about it for years, but this is the first time Ive been able to attend. Im hoping to learn cutting-edge internet marketing and internet business tactics.

I stress business here because a lot of people who have e-mailed me think that I want to teach them how to make money on the internet. But thats not what I do.

I want to teach people how to grow a business online. When I talk about marketing on Web 2.0, it is a way of doing business that stresses the person behind the company rather than the company itself.

People buy form people they like and trust. And the internet has made it much easier to get to know and trust others. Just go to my MySpace page, and youll learn all about me. Or look at my bookmarks to see what interests me. Soon, Ill be uploading videos to YouTube (I knowsome of you are e-mailing me about my lack of videosbut in all fairness, Ive had some technical issues on the videos which I will fix next weekbut wait I have a great video of my daughter singing Frosty the snowmanpriceless).

Yes, I could be lying on all those pages. But then again the internet doesnt let you hide very well. So, I dont recommend it. But the point is all internet tactics should be about growing a business whether its all online or an offline business you are promoting online.

AnywayIll post about these issues individually. But take this nugget from todays post:

You are in business first and online second. By using social media (Web 2.0) to connect with others individually, your chances of marketing that business successfully will go up. And when your business is successful, then and only then will you make money on the internet.

To Your Success,

Carlon Haas

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Is My Wife Withholding "Model Money" From Me?

Note: This first appeared on my new blog @

OK. This isn’t about marketing or social media…but I was looking at the cover of the Wall Street Journal yesterday when lo and behold I saw my wife! I had no idea she was a model for Jil Sander. Or is she?

I was pretty upset because I have not seen a dime of that “model money” coming into the company coffers. She (of course) proclaims her innocence.

You be the judge. One is from the journal, the other my wife’s passport picture (yes…it’s from her passport). Tell me if I shouldn't be expecting some extra "model money" this year?

Friday, March 16, 2007

SXSW: Firsthand Account of A Stupid Criminal Story

The story you re about to read is true. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Cue music: bum-bum-bum-bum

It was a night like any other at SXSW. Carlon Haas & Steve Harper were out, looking for the next party. The party that would get them free booze. But instead they found rain.

Lots and lots of rain.

But there was hope. Shelter. A calm amid the torrent. A shelter that included the much sought after free booze.

The tent. They thought of it as a second home, as they had hit it every day it was open. With booze, it sure felt like home.

But this time, it was different. A strange aura filled the tent. As they strode in, Haas again explained why he forgot his drink card, but emphatically pointed out that he was an important panelist and should be let in.

He was let in. But just then someone was walking out. A police officer—one of Austin’s finest—noted, “Hey, did that guy who just walked out of here work for you?”

“No,” door lady replied.

“Well, he took your laptop.”

The laptop. An old clunker of a laptop. More akin to a paperweight but useful nonetheless. Haas and Harper used it the day before to sign up for free accounts. F-R-E-E.

The criminal, now apprehended about 3 footsteps away from the tent came in with laptop in bright fluorescent bag. Haas and Harper stood ready to assist the police in case this alleged hardened criminal decided to bolt (yet gingerly held their cups of beer so as not to spill any).

The alleged criminal sat there, accepting defeat. Then, he strung together a heartwrenching string of incoherent sentences about why he did it. Confusion and compassion prevailed.

A SXSW official was called to the scene. And alas, the alleged criminal would feel the wrath of SXSW.

The official’s anger was palatable (Haas and Harper, innocent as they were, were even afraid and so went back to the comfort of the beer stand).

It seems this criminal mastermind had been kicked out of SXSW twice in the last 3 years. And now his $500 badge would be revoked all for a laptop that he could have bought for $10 on eBay.

They stripped the alleged criminal of his badge and all the cool buttons he had collected. He was left badge-less, and escorted out in handcuffs by Austin's finest.

Banned from SXSW!

As well it should be. Haas and Harper wanted to tell the alleged criminal to get into a new line of work. But they didn’t get the chance. They were off in search of free food.

SXSW continues…

Brought to you by:

Carlon Haas of

Editor's note: This story was first published on Carlon's new Brave New Marketing blog at

Thursday, March 15, 2007

SXSW: The Ideal Client

Well, yesterday my friends and fellow marketers Steve Harper and Jen Blackert conducted our panel “How to Easily Attract Your IDEAL Client.”

The panel was great and I enjoyed spreading the word about direct response marketing and Web 2.0. I even mentioned the pioneer of marketing by selflessness Paris Hilton.

I’m not so sure that everyone got it…but readers of my blog get it. And if you don’t you should read my post about Paris Hilton and her pre-Web 2.0 marketing genius.

At some point in the future SXSW will podcast the panel, and I’ll let all of you know when they do so you can listen to it.

Celebrity sightings: So far, I’ve managed to see the following celebrities at SXSW: Elisha Cuthbert, Neil Young, the guy from “Boiler Room”, Jenna Jameson (sort of), and some more celebrities that I can’t remember because I have had one too many “beverages” provided to me by my good friends at DMX.

Stay tuned as I will blog about some useful technologies I’ve discovered for internet marketing at SXSW.

To your success,

Carlon Haas

Monday, March 12, 2007

SXSW Update: The Brave New Marketing World of Web 2.0

As some of you know, I am speaking tomorrow at South by Southwest (SXSW).

And let me tell you…

…I am loving this event so far. Given my love of Web 2.0 marketing, I am planning to try to meet some of the people behind many of my favorite Web 2.0 siteslike the guys from Upcoming,org,, and a whole lot more. I’ll be hitting the FireFox event later for sure (if you don’t have FireFox, I suggest you download it immediately).

If you see me on the streets of Austin, give me a shout out.

And please come to my panel tomorrow if you are attending.

You can check out all my upcoming events on the sidebar.

I’ll be updating it daily during this whole week at SXSW.

To your success,

Carlon Haas

P.S. You can take a sneak peek at my new web site. It'll eventually replace this blog as I have now fully embraced the "Web 2.0" way.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

3 Lessons Gangsta Rappers Can Teach You About Marketing

OK…let me start this by saying I do not enjoy rap music. In fact, the closest to rap I ever get is Kid Rock and he turned himself into a country singer!

This is important for a couple of reasons:

#1 You don’t accuse me of liking rap

#2 Even though I don’t like rap, it doesn’t mean I don’t listen to it or look for lessons in what rappers do. I could probably write a book about the business acumen of Jay-Z (a marketing genius if I’ve ever seen one...I'd love just to tag along with him for just one day to learn from him). It just means that you too need to be looking beyond what you like or your industry for marketing and business models.

Now, let’s get on with the show…

#1 Keepin’ it real

If this is not the slogan for a new advertising age, then I don’t know what is. Authenticity, in my opinion, is the MOST important aspect of any marketing or advertising campaign. For gangsta rappers, not "keepin' it real" can murder an aspiring or top (think Vanilla Ice) rapper.

If you want to be successful in your marketing, you had better keep it real. Keep it honest. And you will be rewarded for it. If you don’t, your customers will desert you until you end up on the Surreal Life for broke businesspeople (it’s coming…I can feel it).

#2 Showing Love for your homies

Whenever I do happen to listen to rap, there is always some guy giving a shout out to his homie. In other words, he’s mentioning his friend’s name. The effect? That rappers fans start looking for that friend’s album.

I recently wrote about Paris Hilton being a walking billboard for other people’s products. Well, rappers do this all the time. And the best part is that it’s authentic. Or at least it appears that way. Fans of rap know better than me that rappers tend to be affiliated with each other through their record companies and that these “shout outs” are great for helping each other.

But that’s the point, isn't it? By helping others, you help yourself. Rappers get it. And so should you. Make sure to praise your friends, vendors, or whoever else you work with. In the Web 2.0 era, selflessness is profitable.

* I’d like to give a shout out to my buddy Steve Harper. If you haven't read his book "The Ripple Effect" you're missing out.

* I’ll give another shout out to Thom Singer. Pick up his book too.

#3 Famous rapper (feat. some guy you’ve never heard of)


Who-the-hell-are-you rapper (feat. Famous rapper)

This is the mack daddy of “rapper marketing”. What’s better for an up-and-coming rapper than to be featured on an album by a guy everyone likes. This works great for rappers. And even conversely. Get a famous rapper to rap on your album and you are nearly guaranteed your first single will sell.

It’s love (and money) by association. And this works in pretty much all business. Get someone famous or well-known to endorse you, and you are well on your way.

Speaking of which, any famous (or not-so-famous) people out there want to give me a shout out? Or how about endorsing my next marketing product (coming out soon). Comment on this blog to let me know (Paris Hilton already did!)

To Your Continued Success,

Carlon Haas

Monday, February 12, 2007

What Fashion Models Can Teach You About Marketing!

I just saw a video about how air brushed models are in the magazines.

Of course, I already knew that, but many people do not (or at least they try not to think about it too much).

The video shows an average-looking woman who after being made up and “touched up” turns into this gorgeous fashion model on a billboard.

The video definitely appeals to the emotions (like great sales copy should), but to me it says more about the age we are living in.

With the influx of information on a thing called the internet that lets anyone say whatever they want, more and more people are getting bombarded with—for lack of a better word--crap. Truth and authenticity are getting harder and harder to discern.

And I believe that we are entering an age where truth and authenticity are valued higher than ever.

What was the crime in the video? It wasn’t the model. Watch the video and you will see the message "no wonder our perception of beauty is so distorted”.

The crime is in the deception.

If the model had been very pretty and just put on a little make-up, the video would have had no effect because putting on make-up is not considered a deception. But to think that all those women we thought we so pretty actually look like a lot of us out there! That is not something people are going to be tolerating much longer.

I believe that in marketing and advertising the audiences are becoming less and less inclined to suspend their disbelief. They will want more proof. A lot of what is now called Web 2.0 has to do with this. The interactivity you have with someone the more you can trust them.

But in plain marketing terms: just tell the truth and take the time to establish a relationship with your clients.

When I tell my story, I will freely admit that I was a very reluctant entrepreneur who had to fly by the seat of his pants till I discovered how to use direct response marketing (both on and off the web). It’s no secret.

Truth leads to trust.

And people buy from people they trust.

To your continued success,

Carlon Haas

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

"Your Business Card Sucks!"

OK…here’s what happened.

As some of my loyal readers know, I moved from copywriting and marketing into another business venture.

But my good friend Steve Harper coaxed me into not retiring from it completely.

And I was happy to oblige him.

One problem though…

…all my “marketing strategist” business cards were gone. All I had left were these cheesy cards I had created for a special seminar. The “cheesiness factor” worked in my favor there (just gotta know that market).

However, outside of that niche, everyone else HATES it.

In fact, I’ve only handed the things out at a couple of meetings and I’ve been bombarded with "your business card sucks" e-mails.

OK…OK…I can take a hint.

So, to all of you, I am getting a new card PRONTO. (My card for my other business is pretty, but I don’t think you are looking for consultants on doing business in Korea).

But, as always, I try to turn my mistakes into a lesson for all of you. I think the lesson is two-fold:

#1 Message to market mismatch. The cheesy card worked like gangbusters in one market, but flopped in another. A lot of advertising and marketing works the same way. I have made good business deals with a “cheesy” one-page sales letter site that a lot of people said would never work. But it did work well for my target market. But the same site would fail miserable if my target market was large corporations.

#2 Admit mistakes and move on. Now, I split test a lot of the web sites and ads I do (if I can). And when one wins, I ditch the loser and test some more. But sometimes a campaign just doesn't work. Rather than feel bad and guilty about it, it's best to admit when it's not working and move on to something else.

I actually knew better than to take that card to those types of meetings. But sometimes we do things against our better judgment. We just gotta know when to stop.

So, I’m holding a memorial service for my cheesy business card this evening. If you hear the sound of taps being played tonight, you know where it's coming from.

To Your Continued Success,

Carlon Haas

P.S. I wanted to thank all of you who were on the teleseminar I did with Steve Harper.
I appreciate you giving up an hour of your time for the call.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Fatal Flaw Most People Make When Networking!

Tomorrow, I will attend my favorite networking event, the 8 Minute Ripple (Actually, it’s probably the only networking event I go to with any regularity). It’s always a lot of fun.

But it got me to thinking about networking.

I notice one fatal flaw most people make at events. It’s not the 30-second elevator speeches or bad impressions. Nope. The fatal flaw most people make is...

…lack of follow-up.

I employ a sound follow up strategy. I send out e-mail to the people I meet. But typically, I try to make connections with people at the events, so that when I do e-mail them it's not something like:


“Hi X,

This is Carlon Haas, marketing consultant. I would be interested in helping your company get better results from its advertising…blah, blah, blah,”


Can you say “delete me” any faster?

Instead on the initial follow-up, I try to make it more personal--focused around a point of interest we both shared. For example,


“Hi X,

This is Carlon Haas from X event last night. I really enjoyed talking with you about the meaning of life and about your work as an acupuncturist. As I told you, I lived in South Korea for 6 years, so I am interested in Eastern medicine because of the results it got for me when I hurt my back in Korea…."


See the difference? Following up is crucial to networking…without it, you’re just wasting your money to attend the event. And by trying to make interesting connections while you’re at the event, it makes the follow up process a whole lot easier.

Try this method at your next networking event.

To Your Success,

Carlon Hass

P.S. #1 The lines are filling up fast for my FREE teleseminar on February 6th at 1:00 CST with Steve Harper “How to Rapidly Grow Your Business & Make 2007 Your Best Year Ever!” Please don’t wait to register. Seating is limited. We would like to take all-comers, but unfortunately 250 lines were the maximum we could take out.

Just go here and answer the question. Then, you’ll get the call details delivered to your inbox. I look forward to "hearing” you on the call.

P.S. #2 If you want to meet me at the 8 Minute Ripple tomorrow at 5:30, sign up here. It’s being held at the Small Business Development Program's work center. I hope to see some of you there.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Carlon is Humiliated! You Benefit!

A few weeks ago I pulled a lat muscle. Now, if you’ve never pulled a lat muscle, let me tell you something:

…you are lucky!

It hurts like heck, and you use it to lift, while you're sitting, and it hurts every time you twist your body.

Well, after taking it easy for the past few weeks (treadmills are boring) and with the break that the big bad ice storm of 2007 gave us, I was ready to get back to some weight training.

But not wanting to take any chances, I was pretty much on light weight training (and for full disclosure, my gym activities do NOT include lifting heavy weights...I have no intention to be the next wannabe Schwarzenegger.)

Anyway, so I was hitting the weights. Pumping the 8-pound dumbbells. All the while, I had a small Asian woman half my size pumping 12-pound dumbbells on one side of me with these two extremely ripped guys curling 65-pound dumbbells in their hands on the other side.

Both small Asian woman and extremely ripped guys were doing quite well while I was grimacing in pain from the 8-pounders. All the while, they would glance at me with a "what-the-heck-is-your-problem-8-pound-lifitng-boy" face. I’m not sure how other people saw this when viewing this scene, but let's just say that my "coolness" factor at the gym probably took a hit.

But guess what? It’s better to work your way up slowly than to re-injure yourself. And I know that the ripped guys and the short Asian woman probably won't even remember who I am next time I hit the gym.

Why am I telling you about my humiliating experience at the gym?

It’s to teach you a very valuable marketing lesson. Here it is:

It’s OK to embarrass yourself.

What I mean is that most people are so afraid that their marketing will fail, they either do nothing or wait so long until it’s “perfect” that they miss out on an opportunity.

I know it’s hard for some of you to think like this, but marketing is not a reflection upon you as a person. If your marketing fails, it's not because you failed. You just have to pick yourself up and try again (all the while learning why you failed...which is why it is important for you to be testing while you market so you can measure results). The best marketing lessons I learned was from campaigns that failed. It’s all part of the process.

And just like the short Asian woman and the ripped guys at the gym will forget about me…

…if you fail, no one will remember your failed campaign, except you.

But trust me they will remember the ones that succeed.

So, if you get anything from this, remember this:

It’s better to put out something good today than to put something “perfect” out tomorrow.

So, get out there and get marketing...start a Google AdWords campaign, work on a direct mail piece, go network…do anything; do something…just don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Don’t be afraid of being embarrassed. It'll pass. It always does.

Get out there and get marketing,

Carlon Haas

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Real Reason You Should Hate SPAM!

Let's talk about SPAM, shall we?

I read a very interesting article about new tactics by spammers. If you’d like the details, you can read it here:

As some of you know, I HATE SPAM! As a marketer, I understand why people use it.

  1. It’s free.
  2. It’s a numbers game.
  3. Sooner or later, someone will buy.

And the reason it’s so prevalent is #1. You can get access to tens of thousands of people for peanuts. And more than likely you will make money (think #3). Because it’s a numbers game (#2).

But I don’t hate SPAM for the reason most people hate it (and, yes, I delete hundreds of SPAM e-mails and have had to close several e-mail accounts because of them). I hate SPAM because it’s very short-sighted and in the end bad for business.

Every good marketer knows that good marketing is about building a relationship with your customer. SPAM will get you a transaction, but it will most likely not get you a client.

Let me re-phrase this:

You make a sale to get the customer. You don’t get the customer to make a sale.

When you create strong relationships between you and your clients, you are not only giving your clients the best value but you are also making more money.

When you consider what one good client will spend with you over the lifetime of your relationship, it starts to ad up. But don’t just stop there. A happy client refers you to other people. Then think about how much that referral will spend with you.

That’s called lifetime value of a customer.

Spammers don’t get it.

But I think you do.

The best way is to build a list of people who are interested in what you have to offer. They best way is to put an opt-in on your web page or blog (like the one I have in the top right corner). Then, get their permission to send them e-mails (I recommend using a double opt-in method where they confirm their interest). And also give them a way out if they no longer want what you have to offer.

It’s easy and it will build you a qualified list of prospects. And then all you have to do is keep in contact on a regular basis, give them content (not a sales pitch in every e-mail) and let them know when you have something of value to offer them. They may not always buy, but at least they will be interested, unlike…

…this piece of SPAM poetry I received today:

of something else or related to something else, are explained by place in themselves, these cannot be said to be capable of admitting thing takes place. It is by themselves changing that substances at another black, at one time warm, at another cold, at one time good,”

You just can’t make this stuff up…

Get out there & get marketing,

Carlon Haas

P.S. Paris responds! Check out "Paris Hilton's" response to my blog entry about her.

Monday, January 15, 2007

What Paris Hilton Can Teach You About Marketing!

I stumbled across a brilliant post here about Paris Hilton.

You can read it here.

Or I’ll just sum it up for you. The real reason Paris Hilton is so famous is because of the attention she gives other people. We tend to think of Paris Hilton promoting herself, but listen to Paris sometime (…I know it’s hard but just try it).

Whenever she goes out, she mentions other people—clubs, restaurants, her clothing labels. She’s like a walking product placement. In fact, she’s gotten so good at getting other people attention that she’s even been paid just to attend a club.

Can’t beat that gig.

It seems the more attention she gives other people, the more attention they give her. And this is brilliant marketing. It’s also an idea that my good friend Steve Harper advocates in his book. It’s the idea that the more you do for others, the more will come to you. Harper calls it the ROI of selflessness.

Well…Paris Hilton is living proof that is does work.

Usually business owners think of marketing as promoting their product or service. But marketing is so much more. It’s about being a resource. Paris Hilton is a resource for her “fans”.

She’ll tell you what clothes are hot. The “in” drinks. What car is cool. Say what you want about her, but for the people that love her, she gives and gives and gives (and, no, I am not referring in any way to her infamous video…and I will reject any comment made about it…I came here not to bury Paris but to praise her).

You can do the same thing. For your clients. For the people that buy form you. Don't just be a person who tries to sell something. Be a resource.

And in that vein…you are going to be seeing some MAJOR changes to the web site. I am still using the one page sales letter format, which has worked well for me. But it seems that the more I try to get out of the copywriting and marketing business, the more my ex-clients keep pulling me back in (like the aforementioned leader of the Ripple mafia).

So, I am moving to make my web site a valuable resource for those who need marketing advice or tips on copywriting.

I’ll also be doing some exciting FREE tele-seminars within this month (again, because of the that darned Ripple mafia). All subscribers to blog updates will get the details in the next couple of days. If you don’t subscribe to updates, just fill out the box on the right-hand side and then confirm when you get the e-mail confirmation.

Stay tuned…and Paris

…could you mention the “No Excuses Marketing & Business Building Blog” next time you’re asked about anything? Or just mention how much you respect the work of Carlon Haas. That’s Carlon with an “O” and Haas with 2 a’s.

Thanks Paris…I’ll owe you one.

Get out there & get marketing,

Carlon Haas

Friday, January 12, 2007

What Borat Can Teach You About Marketing!

Although the Borat phenom has died down, at least until the DVD comes out, I have found the movie to be an interesting conversation starter. Over the Christmas holidays, I had the pleasure of talking with a marketing person whose blog I’d love to link to but can’t because it’s private.

She had seen Borat. But unlike most people she hated it. Like me, she spent a long time overseas and saw it differently than most people.

And that got me thinking. I put on my marketing hat, and despite all the social commentary (AKA crap) I’ve heard about Borat, I gleaned a couple of good marketing lessons from the movie. And it has a lot to do with “American” attitudes the movie exposed.

#1: Americans are way too nice.

Let me put it more bluntly—we’re so damned afraid to offend anybody that we’ll agree with almost anything--even a bunch of racist garbage spouted by a fictional Kazak reporter.

What does this have to do with marketing?

I’m afraid it has everything to do with marketing. How many ads do you see there that are so bland because they don’t want to offend someone. And the result is no one buys.

Look, if you are marketing, you are only marketing to a certain group of people. You should be offending someone. for example, when I market, I seek to create ads that gets a response. In other words, it gets people emotional.

And emotion=sales. Who gives a damn if someone who will never buy your product anyway was offended? Do not be afraid to offend people.

I think the people in the movie were just too damned afraid of offending Borat that they just nodded their heads and agreed with him. Too bad. That’s why they looked like idiot in a lot of the scenes.

#2 Americans would rather make money suing people than marketing

The aftermath of the movie had the laughing more than the movie itself. What the hell is that etiquette lady doing suing Borat? Here’s some advice for her. WAKE UP!!!! You just got yourself a WHOLE bunch of publicity!!!

In your marketing materials, you put a big ol’ sticker on it that says, “As featured in American’s #1 Movie Borat”. Hell, you even put brand yourself as “Borat’s personal etiquette coach". Then tell a story on how "Borat" is still a work in progress.

But I guess losing a lawsuit looks like a more wining proposition to her.

Oh well…as an aside Sacha Baron Cohen (who played Borat) is a friggin’ genius. Sacha, if you’re listening, count me in for Borat 2…oh, and my 3-year-old daughter loved you in Madagascar!

To your Continuing Success,

Carlon Haas

P.S. Look for some big changes to my web site in the coming weeks. And I’ll have some FREE stuff for my blog readers. So, stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Want More Money? Wear a Suit!

For independent professionals, YOU are the product. When people buy your services, they are in effect buying you. And the way you are perceived by prospects starts with one thing...

…your appearance.

Some time ago, I went to hear a speaker at a group for people looking for jobs. Here I was in a roomful of people looking for ways to improve their chances of getting a job and possibly network with people looking to hire.

Guess who was the only male in the room with a tie on?

You guessed it…me.

And the best-dressed female?

The speaker at the event.

When I brought this up to someone, they looked at me like I was nuts. And I am shocked at how many people I meet who show up in jeans and T-shirts. (I've heard the refrain over and over...but this is Austin, fellow Austinites, don't deluge me with "this-is-Austin-everyone-wears-jeans-justification e-mails)

I'll be honest about this. I hate wearing suits. And I’m not the biggest fan of ties. I wish I could go around wearing whatever I wanted and that people would understand that I am expressing my individuality and appreciate me for it. But unfortunately...

…I live in the real world—not the world of “how-it-should-be”.

You are judged by your appearance. I'm not saying it’s right. I’m not saying it’s fair.

It’s not right and it’s not fair.

But I don’t make the rules.

I’ll give you one example.

I once worked with a speaker who was looking to improve his sales from the back of the room. I told him that if he wanted to increase sales after a speech, he may want to consider wearing a suit when he gave his talk.

“But Carlon,” he exclaimed. “I want people to see me as one of them. I don't want to come off as being ‘corporate’. That's not who I am."

To this I simply replied, “No. You want people to see you as someone worth listening to. And frankly, if you don’t look valuable, then they will treat you as someone with nothing of value to offer."

I challenged him to speak to 2 similar groups. During one speech he could wear what he usually wears, and at the second group, wear a suit.

Want to guess which set of clothes increased his sales?

Needless to say, he wears a suit whenever he gives a talk and wears one at all the networking events he attends.

And that same advice goes for anyone. If you want people to value you…If you want people to take you as a serious professional, then you have to dress like one.

Your bottom line will thank you many times over.

To Your Continued Success,

Carlon Haas

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Throw Out Your Business Books!

What I’m about to say may seem slightly controversial. It might even sound sacrilegious.

But here goes:

Some time back, I was at a networking function. During the course of a conversation I was having with a very nice woman, she told me how she only reads business books.

“I don’t even bother with fiction," she informed me. She told me how inspired they made her. How much she learned.

Strange, I thought. I did like business books. And for the past few months I had done nothing but read business books too. But, that got me thinking.

I began reflecting on my reading habits. Business books were good, but they lacked something. And I felt that I was lacking something by just reading them. So, decided something right then and there.

So, what did I do? I’ll tell you, and I’m going to advise you to do them same.

Call me crazy, but…

…I threw out the business books! Every single one of them. Well, I didn’t literally throw them out, but I stopped reading them. And I advise you too to stop reading them this minute.

Instead, read FICTION. It can be literature, Stephen King, or whatever.

This is what I’ve done. I went back to read my anthology Best American Short Stories 2004

I'm a couple of years behind, but no matter. I should finish 2004 and 2005 by the end of the month.

The truth is I love literature. And I read A LOT of fiction.

But I’m a marketer and copywriter, right? What good does fiction do me? Well, I’ll tell you. Fiction is all about stories, and STORIES SELL.

Business books are great, and I can almost guarantee you that the most successful ones are filled with stories. And stories do a good job of selling products. Look no further than Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods. If you go through the food isles, every product has a story behind it. And people love stories.

And they will love the stories you tell about you, your product, or your business. And the more they love your story, the more willing they will be to buy from you.

So, get up and start reading some stories. Then, incorporate stories into your marketing. The results will speak for themselves.

To Your Continuing Success,

Carlon Haas

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Want to Sell More? Tell the Truth

I came across an interesting article which should be a cautionary tale for marketers.  

It seems that makers of some popular diet pills were hit with $25 million dollars in fines for false advertising.  If you’d like to read the whole thing, you can go here.

I have said this before and I’ll say it again, when you put out an ad, any ad, you need to be able to back up your facts.  

Diet pills aside (I don’t have a very high opinion on the diet pill industry and do not write copy for this industry),the marketers in this case got hit for making false claims.  

But I have a more radical idea…

…and this is a good lesson for all business owners and marketers…

…know what it is…

…tell the TRUTH!  

That's it.  Just tell the truth.  Adn you know what?  When you do tell the truth, people do respond.  

If the diet pill companies wanted me to write their copy, I might consider it if I could write something like this:

“Our pills will NOT “magically” suck the excess fat from your body while you eat junk food every night and the only form of exercise you engage in is walking to and from the refrigerator.  

If and, only if, you change your diet and exercise regularly will you lose weight.  Our pills are not a substitute for diet and exercise but are an aid to help you along the way and help you get there faster.”

OK.  Now, I am positive this would not work.  Most of these types of ads are sure to make the claim that someone can lose weight without diet and exercise.  But I think my version is honest.  

And honest has been known to sell. A famous story about advertising legend James Webb Young is how his crop of apples was hit by a hailstorm one year causing the apples to be scarred.

These apples were only damaged cosmetically.  So, what does he do?  He tells the truth.  He put a note in all the crates of apples shipped saying that the fact that these apples are scarred proves that they were grown in high mountains in a cold climate that produces hail storms.  In fact, he added, these imperfections only made the apples firmer and sweeter.  

The result?  

Not one order was returned.  

So, there you have it--truth in advertising.  It’s powerful.  It works.  And it’s the law.  

To your continued success,

Carlon Haas

Monday, January 01, 2007

No Excuses for 2007

Dear Marketing Pros,

2006 is over.

Done with.


How was your 2006?   Did you do the things you wanted to do?  Achieve the things you wanted to achieve? And last night, amid a vast array of booze and indecent party snacks, did you make your New Year’s resolution?

Well, if you did, my advice is to…

…NOT make any resolutions.

New Year’s resolutions hardly ever work.  And I think it’s because most people don’t know that resolution, at its root, contains the word resolve.  When you resolve to do something, you are determined to do it.  Nothing should stand in your way.

But how long does it take after New Year’s for your resolve to fail?   And let's not just stop at New Year's.  In 2006, I saw the beginnings of many good marketing campaigns fail because the business owner lacked the resolve, determination, and perseverance to make it work.  

And that’s the point, my friends.  Marketing takes a firm resolve to see it through.  It’s about taking the time to build relationships with your clients.  Without resolve to see it through, even the best-laid marketing plans are a waste of time and money.  I’ve worked with plenty of entrepreneurs who swear to me that direct marketing doesn’t work because, “I sent out one letter and didn’t get much of a response, therefore it doesn’t work.”  

Phooey…if “instant” results is what they wanted, then they should not be in business.  It’s like the guy who asks a woman to marry him on the first date and when she refuses says, “Well, she must not like me because she doesn’t want to marry me.”  Sounds silly, but this is exactly how many people try to market—marriage on the first date.  

But in business and in life, it’s not always about marketing.  Success itself depends on your mindset.  

And this is why I’m telling you now…

…throw out those New Year’s resolutions.  

You can make those resolutions ANY TIME YOU WANT but make them only when you have the resolve to see them through!  Because without that resolve, you will fall victim to excuse after excuse and then wonder why you are failing.  

I’m not just telling you this because I read some stupid self-help book or watched some movie that changed my life.  It’s all from my own experience.  This year I stopped biting my nails.  And almost 4 years ago I stopped smoking (January 7th, 2003).  You see, movies and books don’t change lives…

…people do.  

And the person change starts with is you.  No movie or book worth its salt has ever told me anything different.  

2006 was a good year for me.  It was the beginning of my No Excuses mentality that has changed the way I approach business and marketing.  It was the beginning of new business ventures.  

And 2007 promises to be a great year for me, and I’m hoping to share that with all of you.  

So, let’s throw out those resolutions, and with those resolutions let’s throw out our book of excuses and get to work in 2007.  

Don’t let anything hold you back…

...especially yourself.  

To Your Success,

Carlon Haas